The splendid soprano, Gabriela Carrillo, kicks off Jason Robert Brown’s well regarded 2001 musical,The Last Five Years, softly, with “Still Hurting,” a song that presages the story of love and loss that builds to a soaring, heart rending cri de cœur that foreshadows all that is to come in this passionate, emotional play. The playwright fashions the show with the unique idea to build the character arcs in temporal opposition, with Cathy (Ms. Carillo) acting out her story from the end of a five year marriage, while Jamie’s story (sung by the equally powerful vocal prowess of John Battagliese), starts at the beginning of his passion for Cathy. He is a budding novelist at Columbia University in New York City, while Cathy is a struggling actress. The production uses the images of subway cars traveling in opposite direction as a metaphor for the story lines. Cathy’s trajectory ends with happiness of a new love at the beginning (actually the end of the play) while Jamie’s emotional subway ride ends, metaphorically speaking, at Far Rockaway, as he pursues his literary career into the future of new loves and new accomplishments.
So how does this dramatic scheme work? Rather well I think. The story lines expose the joys and sorrows of the mismatched couple very well, and produced a cathartic effect on this theatre-goer that was very strong. The show runs and hour and a half, with plenty of room for some light comedy as well as for the bumpy ride of this one particular marriage.
The credits for The Last Five Years begin with the playwright, Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the script, score and libretto. The Last Five Years is directed by Jamie Torcellini, with musical direction by Graham Sobelman.
This streaming production is a big step forward for ICT. The video graphics are terrific and support the action with exciting visuals. Kudos for the creative team behind The Last Five Years includes costume designer Kim DeShazo; sound designer Dave Mickey; prop master Patty Briles; casting directors Michael Donovan, CSA and Richie Ferris, CSA; and video editor and stage manager Jessie Vacchiano.
The Last Five Years streams June 3 through June 20. It is available on demand every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (dark Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays). The ticket price is $35 per household.
Tickets are available for purchase now at www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.